5 Great Books for When You are Learning to Sew

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A few years ago I decided I wanted to make my own clothes. I had previously done some sewing but never much dressmaking. So I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read a lot of blogs and eventually I produced a mostly ok dress. And then I was hooked. Over the past few years I have bought and tried quite a few books about learning to sew and I thought I would share a few of the ones I have enjoyed using the most.

Cover of Love at First StitchLove at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes

This was my first sewing book and I still find it really useful. Tilly was a competitor on the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee and her simple, clear instructions with plenty of photographs are the ideal starting point. This book even contains some patterns, some of which I have made again and again.


Cover of Gertie's Ultimate Dress BookGertie’s Ultimate Dress Book by Gretchen Hirsch

My perfect dresses are definitely vintage inspired and this book was really useful when I was thinking about what styles and elements I wanted to look for in patterns. I haven’t made many of these dresses, but the techniques and tips have definitely helped me a lot in my sewing journey!

Cover of The Colette Sewing HandbookThe Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick

This is a much loved Birthday present from a few years back and helped me build my confidence, especially when it came to fitting my dresses and adjusting my first attempts. The included patterns are really lovely and would be great first projects if you were interested in learning to make your own clothes.

Cover of Pattern Fitting with ConfidencePattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zieman

This book was so interesting and really helped me as I started to grow in confidence with my sewing. My fitting skills have improved a lot over the past year or so and it is in no small part down to this book.


Cover of Merchant and Mills Sewing BookMerchant and Mills Sewing Book by Carolyn N K Denham

I love visiting the Merchant and Mills shop in Rye (UK) and looking at their beautiful fabrics and beautifully packaged sewing tools. This book perfectly channels their simple aesthetic and is informative to boot. It includes projects other than clothes, so is perfect for someone looking to learn without committing to making their own clothes.